Mysterious Book Report No. 289 – A Divided Spy

Mysterious Book Report A Divided SpyA Divided Spy by Charles Cumming

St. Martin’s Press, $26.99, 356 pages, ISBN 978-1-250-02104-5

For some arcane reason . . . known only to themselves and the cosmos . . . the Brits are the masters of the spy novel universe. One only has to think of the names Ian Fleming and John LeCarré, or their iconic fictional spies, James Bond and George Smiley to know what we mean. But now, there’s another writer from the English Isles by the name of Charles Cumming, who’s created the next unforgettable MI6 super-spy. His name is Thomas Kell. In his third, and newest installment;

A Divided Spy, Mr. Cumming has Thomas Kell in limbo. Bitter, disillusioned and apparently, done with MI6, the secret service he’s devoted his entire life to. All Kell has left is grief . . . for the woman he loved who was murdered in Istanbul by Russian operatives, and rage . . . at the Kremlin and it’s clandestine service: The SVR. Wallowing in grief, anger and self-pity, a chance encounter at a remote Red Sea resort offers Kell an opportunity for revenge against the Russian agent who orchestrated that death. Plotting to avenge her assassination, Kell goes rogue, mounting an outside-the-law effort to ‘turn’ the SVR agent by recruiting him as a double agent. The Russian would be reporting SVR and Kremlin secrets to the SIS . . . the British Secret Intelligence Service. But, the business of spies is lies, and an exquisite game of cat-and-mouse ensues; during which it’s hard to tell who is recruiting who.

At the same time, radical Islamic terrorists are plotting a devastating, catastrophic and bloody terror attack on an unsuspecting group of British vacationers. In a masterful piece of plotting, author Cumming seamlessly blends the two elements and boils them down to a terrible dilemma for Thomas Kell: loyalty to himself, or loyalty to his country? The answer will leave the reader gasping for breath and looking for other novels by this exacting thriller writer!

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John Dwaine McKenna

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